40 Questions — Here We Go
Some unnamed number of years ago, I was approaching my 20th high school reunion. I was shocked to realize how young I was — not even 40, yet nearing a milestone one step away from the assisted living facility. In my teenage and even 20-something mind, Twenty Whole Years after graduation I would be an empty nester approaching retirement, not a mid-30s mother of young children.
Needless to say, I was not a math major in college.
What I was really thinking—what I think many younger people think—is that 20 years out of childhood my life would have ossified into something final and sure. When you are 18 or 22, the path of your life is an open question. A question I had thought would be well and truly answered 20 years later.
It could just be me. I like questions more than answers—always have. But I think it’s also the nature of this time of life. Decisions that once seemed final—jobs, kids, spouses, houses—open up again. A body that once seemed pretty reliable starts to ask its own questions, and ask them (ouch!) more insistently. Things I swore I would never do or say seem surprisingly possible, and sometimes slip out before I know what happened. The path of my life is a question that seems more open than ever before.
One thing I’m not asking: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I feel pretty sure I’m a grown-up, and I like my grown-up privileges, the ability to ask more, and harder, and smarter questions chief among them. (Sex and booze are good too.)
So that’s what I want this next stretch of years to be about: asking good questions, being curious, experimenting, keeping lots of doors open but not being too circumspect or contemplative to run through some of them. Like right now — here we go!